A theme that seems to keep arising in this course is the concept of making the Math tools we teach applicable and meaningful to real life. After thinking about it, I was wondering why we do not teach more about personal finance management to our students? Why do we not teach our students (or at least give them the option to take a course) about personal finance, learning about spending, saving, borrowing, budgeting, debt, interest, investing and things of this nature? These are very important life skills that people should have or at least know a little bit about when getting started out in the world (whether that is in post secondary education or the workforce). Especially in times where it our society has been on the brink of financial crises, and students are carrying more debt than ever before, these skills seem like highly necessary ones, to help prevent our youth from putting themselves in tough situations, or even financial ruin.
In Ontario, there is no separate course which teaches about financial literacy. In 2011, a financial literacy program was introduced to integrate these types of financial skills into the curriculum from grade 4 onward (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/surveyliteracy.html). But some teachers, such as Genevieve Tran (licensed teacher in Ontario, Masters of Education, and has taught financial literacy abroad) believe that the lack of knowledge, accountability and assessment component for this program means that students are not getting a good understanding of these issues (https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/blogs/insight/why-isn-t-financial-literacy-taught-school-180027714.html). I know from my own personal experience, I was not very well versed in areas when I was younger, such as getting a student loan from the bank, purchasing cars, the different types of financing there are, utilizing OSAP, interest rates on different debts and what should be paid off first etc. If not for guidance from my parents and some knowledge I had learned in school I would have been lost. A lot of students do not have the luxury to lean on their parents for this knowledge, because many of them may not know a lot about these topics. Having more background information on these topics, and gaining a better understanding of them could have huge benefits for our students and their financial stability in their future. Many of these skills, even ones as simple as planning a budget based on a fixed income, should be essential skills that our students learn and become familiar with to help them with real life practical applications. What do you think, should we invest more time in teaching our students to be more financially literate?